Public Voices or Officials' Own Decisions
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Which criterion should be given more weight when assessing government officials, their determination to carry out the will of the people they serve, or their ability to form their own judgements instead of relying on other’s opinions? Whereas some people regard/designate government officials as public servants, others appreciate their resolution to make their own decisions. Notwithstanding the difference between these views, I am inclined to believe that they are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
On the one hand, I concede that government officials are created by the demands of the people they serve and officials, therefore, should behave in accordance with the will of them. The central role of government in administering national affairs/in governing the country and society obliges officials to work for citizens’ benefits. Additionally, while government’s decisions may sometimes be reasonable and feasible to certain degree, under no circumstance can officials infringe citizens’ fundamental rights arbitrarily. For instance, according to the Constitution, eligible American citizens have legal rights to hold guns. However, gun banning has become a sensitive issue in every election year. Despite the fact that gunshot incidents are increasing significantly, the government has no legal reason to deprive citizens of their legal rights to resist such banning.
Conversely, the claim that officials should make decisions of their own volition may be based on the following considerations. In the first place, many macro-decisions cannot be made with the limited knowledge of ordinary citizens. On the other hand, according to the game theory, the optimal choice that each individual makes for their own benefit may be the worst one on the whole, which is known as minus-sum game. For supporting examples, let us turn to Roosevelt’s New Deal. Had Roosevelt not subordinated capitalist interests and not combined market economy with government regulation, current Americans might still be suffering from/subjected to the Great Depression. Even though Roosevelt implemented a series of polices in spite of business opposition, we do not judge him to have acted irresponsibly and autocratically; on the contrary, we applaud his policies because they stemmed from comprehensive concerns of what would benefit Americans overall. So this case sufficiently exemplifies what some people claim.
The aforementioned/above-stated examination of the two views discloses my appreciation for both of them. But this is not to say that I suggest appraising these perspectives in isolation. Rather, I would like to view the process of policy-making of government officials as a continuum that includes both public voices and officials’ individual decisions. An insightful official should and is able to form his or her own judgement based on the will of the people he or she serves. In the meanwhile, people should attempt to understand that those policies have undergone considerations regarding potential benefits and consequences. Nowhere could a harmonious relationship be enjoyed as in the ideal world where leaders and their people both benefit from policy decisions.